Chapter Sixteen (cont.)
Sean Philips watch the view screen as Republic
spun around and then quickly accelerated to warp on the trail of the transporter trace. The sparkle and flash of light as she broke the Warp barrier faded from the viewer, and then he turned around to face the handful of crewmen he had assembled on the bridge of the White Cloud
“All right, folks, we’ve a job to do—and that ship and the colonists are depending on us to do it right,” he said. “Mister Bowen; excuse me, Gerald,” Sean said with a smile, “we are going into the heart of darkness; a Ferengi trade world. Collect uniforms from everyone and seal them away in the ship’s vault.”
One of the marines jerked. “This ship has a freaking vault?” she asked.
“Yeah, Sandy,” Sean answered, shaking his head. “With thirty-five kilos of gold-pressed latinum stored inside. Among other things.”
The Marines, Philips engineer’s, and Bowen shook their heads in shock. Crewman Herman Zapata blurted out, “That’s 3,500 hundred bars of latinum!”
“Ah, Skipper,” one of the engineers cut in, “turn in our uniforms? Are we going naked
“Don’t you wish, Will,” muttered Sandy.
Sean shook his head. “No, ladies and gentlemen. Civilian clothes—we aren’t Star Fleet anymore, we are Orion pirates! And speaking of which, I’ll need your comm badges as well.”
He sat down a box of Orion wrist-comms. “Use these instead—I replicated them myself and each has a transporter beacon built in, and all the capabilities of our normal comm badges besides. Marines, there is a fully stocked armory with a hodge-podge of weapons—pick your own, but I don’t want to see Star Fleet phasers on every person; that’s not how the Orions roll.”
“What about medical?” Gerald asked as he dropped his comm badge into the box, took one of the wrist-comms and locked it in place on his arm. “We don’t have a doctor, Commander.”
“No ranks, Gerald. And not exactly on the doctor. Computer,” he said, “activate Emergency Medical Hologram.”
There was a flash of light and a holographic image of a bald headed man dressed in Star Fleet uniform suddenly appeared on the bridge. “What is the nature of your medical emergency?” he asked, and then cocked his head to one side. “Star Fleet? Star Fleet! It’s about time you came to rescue me!”
“An EMH! How the devil did the Orions get an EMH!” Bowen exclaimed.
“They stole it; and this ship has holo-emitters everywhere
; the doctor can travel throughout the ship, including the Jefferies tubes.”
The hologram looked around and then his face fell, and he sighed. “I’m not going back to Star Fleet am I?” it asked.
Sean grinned. “You are, but first we are going undercover.”
“I’m a Doctor, damn it, not a spook!”
“There are twelve thousand
civilian lives at stake here, Doctor,” Sean answered. “We’ve got to track down Inderi and try and find them.”
“Inderi? I met her the last time she came aboard—treated her for some radiation poisoning back on Havalis II. First time in months I’ve had to treat anything other than sexual transmitted diseases; you wouldn’t believe the things I have had to deal . . .”
“I really don’t need to know this part, Doctor,” Sean said.
“. . . with, being treated like a piece of furniture and not a highly skilled, trained surgeon and physician that I am; and now I get to pretend to be a undercover field agent . . .”
“Computer, end EMH program,” Sean said, as the Doctor looked up at him sharply, and then faded out.
“Annoying bugger, isn’t he?” The engineer shook her head and turned a serious face on his crew. “Get squared away, get changed, and get to your stations. We are moving out in ten minutes for Havalis. And don’t worry about the risk of contamination; your quarters were thoroughly disinfected before your arrival.”
Sean walked through the doors to the spacious and luxuriously appointed ready room, aft of the bridge. He shook his head. The Orions really did like their creature comforts, he thought as he circled the marble
desk, his booted feet sinking deep into the plush carpeting of the deck. He sat down in the chair, and jerked as the seat began to conform to precisely to his body—it was unnerving. He shook his head though.
“Computer, activate EMH.”
“Please state the nature of the medical emer . . . oh, it’s you again. Didn’t you get enough of a laugh by shutting me off in mid-sentence once?”
“You said that you met Inderi?”
“Yes. She didn’t talk much, but was in much better health than the original crew of this vessel—even with the radiation poisoning.”
“Tell me about her.”
The holographic doctor frowned. “I am bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. Medical ethics are a large part of my programming.”
“And how’s your survival instincts, Doctor? I have a crack computer-man sitting out there would love to take a peek at your core programming.”
“Threats? Can’t you solids interacts with holograms in any manner other than threats? You are as bad as the Orions, I have half a mind to rep . . .”
The hologram sighed. “What do you want to know?”
“Race, gender, height, weight—a picture would be good. Your impressions of her—why she was aboard this ship; that sort of thing.”
“Well, she is a she: a female Antaran. Reasonably intelligent, but obviously a criminal who associates with the Orion Syndicates; although I got the impression that she was more of a free-lancer than part and parcel of the Orion mob.”
The Doctor turned the captains monitor around and tapped a few keys, and then spun it back aground again, this time with a picture of an Antaran female on the screen. “That’s her height, weight, skin coloration, eye coloration, and cranial ridge patterns. I cannot, ethically tell any more of her medical condition than she was suffering from low levels of radiation poisoning.”
“No, it appeared more to be leakage from her ship—an old Vulcan Warp-shuttle, Shirak
-class, I think she said. The impulse engine shielding needs to be replaced, she’s being deluged with beta-particles; in low doses, of course, but over the long-term she will suffer serious medical side effects if she does not repair the engine.”
“Anything else, Doctor?”
“Oh, so you can ask nicely—that’s good to know. I was not privy to any of her conversations with Baron Jowar, or Shipmaster Palin. And she discussed nothing with me in sickbay except for her medical status. Well, we did talk a bit about her needing to make a long-distance flight in the shuttle after the ship returns to Havalis II. I, of course, recommended against such a flight until after the impulse shield has been replaced. But I do not believe she was planning on taking my advice.”
“How long a flight, did she say?”
“Eleven days at warp, she said.”
Sean leaned back, and once again the seat began crawling over his back. He shook his head and stood up, activating his wrist-comm. “Gerald.”
“Pull up the specs on the old Shirak
-class warp shuttle; I want to know all possible destinations within eleven days of Havalis II at her maximum warp capacity. And configure the sensors to detect beta-emissions from a poorly maintained Shirak
-class impulse engine.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
“Thank you Doctor, you have been most helpful.”
“I am so happy that you feel that way, Sir. The chair is not to your liking?”
“No; I’d rather have something a bit more solid.”
The hologram sighed. “Computer, disable automatic metamorphic adaptations in Baron Jowar’s day-office. And now, you may deactivate me if there is not a real medical emergency at hand.”
“Computer, end EMH.”
Sean sat back down slowly, and this time the chair remained solid and firm. I’ll be, he thought.
He keyed his wrist-comm again. “Zapata.”
“Can you change the EMH’s appearance?”
There was a pause. “I believe so, sir.”
“Good. I’ll send you the physical profile of Baron Jowar—the previous owner of this vessel. Let’s make sure that Inderi gets to meet the good Baron once again."